'One law for the rich, one for the ordinary worker'


The Chief Executive of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey has criticised judges who have not made voluntary contributions to the State in lieu of the pension levy imposed on all public servants.

Only 19 of the State’s 148 judges have so far made voluntary contributions. Between them they have paid just over €60,000 so far.

Arrangements were made last month by the Revenue Commissioners for the judges, who were exempted from the pension levy, to make a voluntary contribution. All payments were to be confidential.

Judges’ salaries range from €295,000 for the Chief Justice to €147,000 for a District Court judge, with High Court judges earning €243,000 a year.

Speaking on RTE radio’s This Weekprogramme this afternoon, Mr Mulvey said there was one law for the rich and another for the ordinary worker.

“It’s giving out all the wrong signals. The issue here is one of moral leadership and moral authority,” he said.

“Our commission and its officers are spending every day of the week working with unions and employers in order to salvage jobs, people are taking voluntary pay cuts, people are losing their jobs and their pensions and suddenly they look across the spectrum and see some of the most privileged people in our society not making that voluntary contribution.”

“Those of us who are in a position to lead and those of us who are on a very very decent standard of living should be prepared to make that sacrifice. It's one law for the rich and one law for the ordinary worker and the unemployed,” he added.

Mr Mulvey said he expected all 148 judges to have made contributions by the end of the summer.

"Let’s row in here together. It’s very hard to talk to workers who are losing their jobs and their pensions, taking reductions in pay and then seeing others who are paid by the State not actually making that voluntary effort."

"Clerical officers, teachers, nurses, gardai and prison officers are all making contributions on a compulsory basis every week of the year so it’s important that justice is seen to be done," he added.